The three men who struck terror in Punjab’s Gurdaspur on Monday may have sneaked into India from Pakistan on Sunday night after crossing the Ravi river and had two more targets marked, data from their GPS devices has revealed.
Three heavily-armed men dressed in battle fatigues left seven people, including a senior police officer, dead in Dinanagar town of the border district before they were killed in a day-long gun battle that ended the siege of the local police station.
The two global positioning system found on the men, suspected to be from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, showed they started from Shakhargarh tehsil of Pakistan and entered India from Tash area along the border, sources said.
“The coordinates were fed in the GPS devices on July 21 somewhere deep inside Pakistan. We have sought help from the US to pinpoint the location and further analyse the devices,” a government official said, requesting anonymity.
Watch:Gurdaspur terror attack: CCTV video captures three terrorists
If the inputs are proved correct, this would be the first strike by Lashkar in Punjab, which battled a Sikh insurgency in the 1980s and 90s.
After Tash, they crossed the Ravi, moved south to Makoura in Punjab and then Marara in Gurdapur tehsil before entering Dinanangar, which is 18km from the border.
“As per their GPS system, they first planted bombs on railway track before snatching a car from a civilian and then gained entry into the police station,” news agency PTI quoted Punjab Police chief Sumedh Singh Saini as saying.
Coordinates for Aryanagar and Singowal, both in Gurdaspur, were also fed in the GPS sets, the official in Delhi said."We have reasons to believe the gunmen entered India on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, just hours before they started firing," he said.
The men, whose bodies were pulled out from the police station 24 hours after the gun fight, were not carrying food or medicines. “It showed that they were not in for long haul,” he said.
A night vision device was found near the bridge on the Amritsar-Pathankot track on which five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were planted. The track is 5km away from Dinanagar.
“Around 1kg RDX was used in each of the devices. We have found nine packets of 500 grams near the track,” the official said.
The IEDs were pressure devices without timer that would have gone off under train pressure but were recovered in time, the official said.
“The BSF had picked up intelligence last week that terrorists were finding it difficult to carry out operations in Jammu and Kashmir due to tight security, they might take Punjab route,” said a senior Border Security Force official on condition of anonymity.
In the last one month, there have been five attempts at infiltration in the neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir, sources said. Indian forces managed to neutralise the infiltrators on four occasions but one group managed to go back to Pakistan.